It’s historic. Employees of an Apple Store located in Towson, Maryland have formed a union called the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, it joins the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), an industrial union that represents more than 300,000 employees across the Atlantic. They become the first Apple employees to join unionize.
A letter sent to Tim Cook
” I applaud the courage shown by the members of the Apple store in Towson to achieve this historic victory. They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all their eyes on this election. said Robert Martinez Jr, IAM International President. Of the 110 employees who could vote, the union received 65 positive votes and 33 negative votes.
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Prior to the election, store workers sent a letter to Tim Cook asking him not to oppose the formation of a union: We have come together as a union out of a deep love of our role as workers in the company and out of concern for the company itself. To be clear, the decision to form a union is to allow us, as workers, to access rights that we currently do not have. “, can we read there.
That feeling when you form the first union at Apple in America. Congratulations,@acoreunion!
— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) June 19, 2022
Apple not very convinced by unionization
For the time being, Apple has not reacted to the results of the election, but the apple brand has been accused on several occasions of wanting to prevent its employees from unionizing. While an Apple Store in Atlanta was supposed to be the first to hold a union election, its organizers withdrew their request, claiming that Apple was using illegal union-busting tactics, such as holding meetings in ” captive audience “. The firm has also recently increased the wages of its retail employees from 20 to 22 dollars per hour, hoping to change their minds about forming unions.
The company further argued that it offered better wages than many retailers as well as numerous other benefits, including social security and stock awards.
Last month, Deirdre O’Brien, vice president of human resources and retail at Apple, also sent a video to 58,000 employees in the sector to warn them of the disadvantages of unionization. In particular, she said it would be more difficult to make changes in stores where a union comes between Apple and employees.
In the United States, more and more unionization
Apple isn’t the only tech giant to oppose unionizing its employees. This is also the case of Amazon, which is accused of illegal practices to prevent the creation of the first union of its employees in one of its New York warehouses.
More generally, a number of American companies have faced organizing drives over the past year. For example, workers at more than 250 Starbucks locations filed campaign petitions to unionize. Incidentally, Apple is working with the same law firm that supports Starbucks’ union busting push.
This surge in unionization comes as in 2021, 6.1% of workers in the private sector were members of a union, the lowest rate on record, reports the wall street journal. Faced with a tight labor market and great fatigue following the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers now want to unionize in order to assert their rights.
Organizing Maryland employees could be emulated at Apple: according to union leaders, employees of dozens of Apple Stores have expressed their interest in unionizing in recent months. This is particularly the case of the Grand Central store in New York. As a reminder, the Cupertino Apple company has more than 250 stores in the United States and employs around 65,000 people in this sector. The entire company employs the equivalent of 154,000 full-time workers.